Sun reflecting on RPC building.

RPC hires senior Commercial Partner to expand its market-leading Commercial practice

Published on 14 January 2021

International law firm RPC has hired leading Commercial lawyer Tom Purton as a senior Partner to join the firm's expanding Commercial practice.

RPC has one of the leading and most comprehensive Commercial practices in the City, spanning the firm's sector focus on retail, tech, media and insurance.

Tom joins RPC from Travers Smith, where he successfully co-founded and led the firm's Commercial, IP and Technology Department for 10 years.  Tom is a highly respected senior commercial contracts lawyer, described by Chambers as having one of the finest legal minds I've come across", with a wealth of experience across retail, leisure, real estate, financial and business support services.

He advises on joint ventures and strategic alliances and a broad range of other commercial contracts including supply, marketing, agency, distribution, franchise, brewing, sponsorship and outsourcing contracts. He is ranked as a leading individual in Chambers and recognised in the Hall of Fame in Legal 500.

He was a key partner on groundbreaking deals including the £8.2 billion separation and subsequent sale of Virgin Media’s telecom masts business; and the setting up of Metro Bank (the first retail bank in the UK for 100 years). Tom also advised one of the UK’s leading logistics providers, Gist, on its £3.5 billion worldwide food logistics and warehousing services outsourcing agreement with leading retailer Marks & Spencer and the UK's oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, on its brewing and distribution deals for Kingfisher, Asahi, Sam Adams and Singha beer.

In the past 12 months, RPC's Commercial practice has gone from strength to strength as it continues to deliver excellent client service across the board. In what has been the busiest year for the Commercial practice to date, the team has handled high profile, sensitive and complex work for household names in the UK and globally.

The team won TMT Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2020 for its work for LINK, as well as the prestigious Luxury Deal of the Year at The Luxury Law Awards for advising Stella McCartney in her buyout of her existing joint venture arrangements with Kering and the subsequent entry into a new partnership with LVMH Moët Hennessy. Many of the firm's clients are now being serviced by multiple parts of the firm.

Commenting on Tom's arrival, RPC's recently appointed Head of Commercial, Jeremy Drew said: "We are delighted that someone of Tom's calibre and reputation has decided to join us."

"Tom's arrival comes on the back of the busiest ever year for the Commercial practice supporting clients in these challenging market conditions. His hire reflects our longstanding commitment to the Commercial practice and our strategy to grow our capacity and continue to offer best in class advice."

"His sector experience in retail will help us consolidate our band 1 ranked retail team. He will also be a great asset as we support transformation projects and manage risks for those clients operating in retail and other sectors, including tech."

"We are not stopping here; we want to keep growing the practice by hiring more of the best talent across all career levels."

Adding to this, RPC's Managing Partner James Miller said: "Tom brings a wealth of experience to our market-leading Commercial practice which has gone from strength to strength over recent years.

"He will also bring the invaluable experience of having built a substantial business at his previous firm – which is important as we pursue growth in our chosen markets.

"Tom's arrival, coupled with the recent appointment of Jeremy Drew to Head of Commercial, reflects the firm's ambition over the next few years to make a really strong push into supporting clients' commercial needs."

Commenting on his arrival at RPC, Tom Purton said: "RPC's Commercial practice is one of the most well-regarded in the City.

"The challenge for all law firms – particularly when advising on contracts which are often critical to the success of the client's business – remains the ability to deliver the right strategic and business solution, manage risk and demonstrate commercial value in the process. RPC is well-placed to meet that challenge and increasingly be the go-to firm for complex commercial contracts and outsourcing work."

Tom is a longstanding member of the Commercial Law Committee of the City of London Law Society. He is also the author of both the UK section of the Chambers Global Practice Guide to Outsourcing and the UK chapter of Practical Law's Global Guide to Outsourcing.